In his debut season at Arsenal, Danny Welbeck raised many questions over his future at the club. After signing for £16 million last summer, many Arsenal fans believed that Welbeck could be the man to fill the striker’s position. However, after a disappointing season, is he the right man for the job, or is he just making up the squad numbers?
Welbeck’s goal-scoring record is something which has followed him everywhere he goes. Louis van Gaal believed he wasn’t good enough to play for Manchester United, and a large part of this was down to him not being a prolific goalscorer. Welbeck managed just eight goals in 27 starts and seven substitute appearances in all competitions for the Gunners this term. If they are to push for the title, then this certainly isn’t good enough. His record for England is slightly better; he has netted 13 times in 33 appearances, and in many of these games he found himself on the wing.
Danny Welbeck: Arsenal’s Forgotten Man?
Welbeck’s season has definitely included some very memorable highlights. A hat-trick in the Champions League group stage versus Galatasaray was one of them, and of course his winning goal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup was a moment for all Arsenal fans to savour.
The question is: where does Welbeck fit into this ever-improving Arsenal side?
Danny Welbeck is certainly no more than the second choice striker at this moment in time. Olivier Giroud has a far more impressive record and he’s undoubtedly Wenger’s number one. Theo Walcott is hot on Welbeck’s heels and with his notable end to the season might just be ahead in the pecking order. His hat-trick against West Brom and also his FA Cup final goal will have improved his chances of playing through the middle. As in every transfer window, there are rumours surrounding Arsenal and whether they will sign a new striker. If they do sign one, then one would expect him to be world class and proven at this level. Therefore, Welbeck would drop to third choice, and could even be fourth if Walcott continues to impress.
The other position Welbeck has held this season is on the wing. His pace and power make him very exciting in this position, and this season he has proved to be a valuable asset when operating there. Arsenal fans will remember his powerful run which led to Mesut Ozil’s opener in February at White Hart Lane.
However, it is clear that there are better players at the club who play on the wing. Alexis Sanchez is of course the first choice. 25 goals and nine assists this season have ensured he’s the first player on the teamsheet. Although he was injured for large parts of the season, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will likely be ahead of Welbeck. He always makes an impact, as seen most recently with his assist after coming off the bench in the FA Cup final. Theo Walcott too is a choice for Wenger and with the goals he adds makes him a valuable player.
Therefore Welbeck’s starting place is in major doubt. He’s not the first choice striker and if Arsenal sign another, he’ll be the third choice. Welbeck has the same dilemma on the wing. He’ll be used predominantly as a replacement next season, and will start cup games. However, if Arsenal are to win silverware next season, it won’t be him leading the line.